Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian meets with Palestinian group Hamas' top leader, Ismail Haniyeh in Tehran, Iran, March 26, 2024

Hamas Leader Thanks Iran For Support During Tehran Visit

Tuesday, 03/26/2024

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh during his visit to Tehran met with Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who is a staunch supporter of Islamist groups among Palestinians and in regional countries.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will not hesitate in supporting the cause of Palestine and the oppressed and resilient people of Gaza," Khamenei said during his meeting with Haniyeh.

The real reason for such trips rarely leaks to media, but Iran has backed Hamas in the nearly six-month war with Israel, which is still reeling from the US decision not to veto the UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire. This is Haniyeh's second visit to Iran since Hamas invaded Israel, killing 1,200 mostly civilians and taking 250 hostages in October.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (3rd left) and Iran’s ruler Ali Khamenei (right) during a meeting in Tehran on March 26, 2024

Hamas welcomed the resolution but said the ceasefire needs to be permanent. Iranian officials lauded it as “a positive step” with foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani saying, “A more important step is effective action for its implementation." 

Haniyeh said in Tehran on Tuesday that Hamas is transitioning into a new phase of war with Israel. “We are in the process of passing through a historic phase in the struggle against the Zionist regime, with the Al-Aqsa Storm being the turning point,” he said during his joint press conference with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. Hamas dubs its attack on Israel as the Al-Aqsa Storm.

“Iran stands at the forefront of supporting the cause and people of Palestine,” Haniyeh added. “I extend special thanks to the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, the President of Iran, and the people of Iran.” 

In March 2022, Haniyeh revealed that the Islamic Republic paid a total of $70 million to Hamas to help it develop missiles and defense systems. During an interview with Al-Jazeera, Haniyeh said different countries help in financing the group, but Iran is the biggest donor.

Last May, Iran International reported that Hamas pressured the Islamic Republic into inviting its leader, Ismail Haniyeh, to Tehran hoping to get financial support. Our sources said that although the Islamic Republic continues to provide financial aid to Hamas despite its own economic situation, Tehran was not satisfied with the performance of the group against Israel. This was only a few months before Hamas launched the October 7 attack.

While Hezbollah is by far Iran's richest and most powerful proxy, the combined funds of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement, Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine are enormous, Hamas and Islamic Jihad receiving a large share of Tehran’s aid. In 2018, US President Donald Trump’s special Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, who recently visited Israel's communities on the Gaza perimeter and toured the terror tunnel the IDF exploded, claimed Iran provided $100 million annually to Hamas compared to $700m annually to Hezbollah.

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian looks on during a press conference in Tehran, Iran, March 26, 2024.

During his press conference in Tehran, Haniyeh stated that UN resolution was an indication that Israel is globally isolated. He said that Israel is "losing political cover and protection even in the Security Council" and "the US is unable to impose its will on the international community".

Also on Tuesday, Israel said it is recalling its negotiating team from Qatar after Hamas rejected its latest offer in talks for a hostage deal and truce.

According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, Hamas’s decision to reject a US-brokered compromise is “clear proof it is not interested in continuing talks, and a sad testament to the damage caused by the UN Security Council resolution.”

The Israeli government accuses Hamas of retreating to its “extreme demands” including a complete end to the war and full IDF withdrawal from Gaza. “Israel will not cave to Hamas’s delusional demands.”

A diplomatic official quoted by Hebrew-language media said Hamas demanded that Gazans be given carte blanche to return to the north of the Strip and did not even address a hostage release. “There is no one to talk to on the other side and the Israeli negotiating team has nothing to do in Qatar,” the source is quoted saying according to the Times of Israel.

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